Dominican Republic Travel Guide
We wrote about the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) in 2010 but a recent trip left us oh-so impressed we decided to revisit the beauty and efficiency of this flying experience again. Five years later, it still puts most other Caribbean airports to shame (I’m talkin’ to you, Saint Thomas!)
Punta Cana is the Dominican Republic's leading destination, and with more than 5.9 million international arrivals in 2014, it is the second busiest Caribbean Airport surpassed only by San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yet despite the heavy traffic it appears pristine.
The airport’s thatched roofs are breathtaking and tropical – and the airport is not only cool looking, it is literally cool. Although open-aired, massive ceiling fans are located throughout the airport, making it breezy and comfortable.
We don’t easily get choked up watching airline videos on YouTube, but once again WestJet has us reaching for a tissue to wipe away the tears this holiday season. The carrier from Canada is at it again, as this year they brought their own version of a Christmas miracle down to one community in the Dominican Republic.
The airline setup a little kiosk within the Puerto Plata community of Nuevo Renacer, and residents lined up one by one to share their wishes with a Santa on the screen. Well, sure enough Santa was able to grant each and every wish—from a washing machine to a horse.
Celeb Travel / Fashion Travel / Oscar de la Renta / Punta Cana Travel / Dominican Republic Travel / PUJ / → All Tags
Above: the beach at Tortuga Bay
Flying to the resort town of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic? You have more than just nature to thank for its beauty.
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who passed away last night at the age of 82, was one of the major partners behind developing the area. de la Renta, who was born in Santo Domingo and grew up in the Dominican Republic before leaving for Paris at 18 to pursue art, first made Casa de Campo famous and then moved on to develop his own enclave at Punta Cana.
Here's three places Oscar's legacy lives on, in tropical style:
Volunteer Travel / Peace Corps / Guatemala Travel / Dominican Republic Travel / Voluntourism / → All Tags
The National Peace Corps Association is now offering all-inclusive, 10 and 14-day travel programs to the Dominican Republic and Guatemala for those who want to help out, but can't take a year off to do so.
MPCA's Next Step Travel program features small group travel, hands-on service projects, and educational programs. Projects include connecting with returned Peace Corps volunteers to learn about their work firsthand, spending time volunteering in a Haitian batey (a sugar worker town) to improve the health of the community, and implementing ecologically sustainable projects in rural areas.
After last night's Emmy Awards, nominees, presenters, and winners were invited to visit the Emmys Gifting Suite, where companies like Aquaswiss, Tivo, and even Black & Decker were happy to exchange their products for some publicity.
Clare Danes, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville, Tina Fey, Glenn Close and Ed O'Neill all took advantage of the gifting suite to score free gold and diamond pendants from the Hot Rock Jewellery, toys made by Beanpatch, New Balance running shoes, Matrix One Tablets, and lots more free swag.
Airport Restaurants / Airport Dining / Dominican Republic Travel / Restaurants / Food Travel / SDQ / → All Tags
A popular restaurant chain just made its very first airport debut, but if you were expecting something upscale you might be a little disappointed. The first ever airport Denny’s has stated to flip pancakes and scramble eggs for the first time, and it’s all going down at Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo—that’s in the Dominican Republic.
We're wondering how well their "Grand Slam breakfast" translates into Spanish?
Tax Refund Vacations / Travel Deals / Caribbean Travel / Dominican Republic Travel / PUJ / → All Tags
Tax day is coming, and you are excited not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements, but because you're getting a fat refund...probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can.
If you crave a beachy retreat, treat yourself to a tropical trip to the Dominican Republic when that big fax tax refund comes in the mail.
Food Travel / Foreign Grocery Friday / Punta Cana Field Trip / Dominican Republic Travel / → All Tags
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
Gummis. They are just so awesome. Like 'em or not, it's hard to deny that gummis are some of the cutest, easiest gifts to bring home from a trip, especially if we're talking unique Haribo shapes straight from Germany. But outside of Europe, gummis can adapt the local tastes too, which we discovered on our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, where we uncovered some Jelly Bananas from the back of a Gummi rack.
The taste: Ignoring the lascivious leer of the cartoon banana pictured on the package, we gave our tastebuds over to the addictive sweetness of these shockingly yellow treats. Sparkling with sugar crystals, they're very pretty to look at and luckily a heck of a lot tastier than the little Runts bananas.
Prime-Plane-Spotting-Map / Plane Spotting / Punta Cana Field Trip / Dominican Republic Travel / Caribbean Travel / Islands / Island Travel / → All Tags
Typically when you talk about going plane spotting, it usually involves some stealth tactics like parking far away or camping out on a barren hillside for the perfect picture. Never do you dream that plane spotting could instead involve chilling beneath a palm tree, with a Cinnabon in hand, but it does if you're hanging out at Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic.
Since the majority of the airport is open-air and thatched-roof, you have a view of the tarmac from almost every angle, but no better place than at the outdoor viewing area. It's a quick walk away from the food court (with its Wendy's, Cinnabon, Nathan's Famous and other more local chains), but it's close enough to the gates so that you can stand out there almost the whole time before your flight without missing the boarding announcements.
So how does Baryshnikov enter the pictures? Find out after the jump!
Video of our plane taking off from PUJ, back to JFK
Only a few days ago, we gave you a quick peek into Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic, after landing on the inaugural Jetblue flight direct from New York. But now we have a comprehensive look at this extremely unique airport which, when it opened in 1984, was the world's first privately-owned international airport.
Now, with over 3 million visitors landing here per year, the airport is the third busiest in the Caribbean region, after Cancun and San Juan. Often Caribbean airports get a bad rap for having ugly terminals, out-of-date technology or just for being small and hot. You'll realize upon landing at Punta Cana however, that his airport is the complete opposite of those things. In fact, it gives major international airports around the world a run for their money.
Want to ring in the New Year by helping the world without sacrificing the necessary creature comforts? Puntacana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic recently announced the launch of their first voluntourism package which allows guests to participate in the island’s annual bird count with Dr. André Dhondt from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Guests staying at Tortuga Bay and The Puntacana Hotel between Dec. 28 and Jan. 2 will be invited to partake in the yearly census of more than 25 indigenous bird species native to the Dominican Republic. The annual count is crucial to monitoring and protecting the health of the island's birds. Hotel guests will also have the opportunity to join Dr. Dhondt for lectures and tours of the resort grounds, including exclusive access to the resort’s beautiful Ecological Reserve.
Spend your holiday in a hammock.
When December hits, people get excited for snow, treats and spending time with family. But for many of us that translates into non-stop shoveling, nasty fruit cake and yet another family screaming match. Forget Christmas this year—and the stress that comes along with it—and head to the Dominican Republic.
And how about this for a relaxing non-holiday: an all-inclusive vacay at Excellence Puta Cana that costs $123 a night for stays through December 23.